Rachel messes with Ellis's mind.
I pulled up outside Gloria's house and she dismounted. She stood looking at me. "I think you know you're hurting me, Ellis, so why are you doing it?" She turned away and walked off down her side path.
"Wait, Gloria," I called, but she ignored me and kept walking. I got off the motorcycle and ran after her, catching up with her as she reached the back gate. She turned around and I saw the mixed emotions of sorrow and anger displayed in her face, tears forming in her eyes. "Oh, Gloria, I don't know what happened back there. I know I get a bit eager and impatient sometimes but I honestly don't know why I spoke to you like that. Everything seems so hazy as if I were looking on in a bad dream. Please, please forgive me, I love you so much."
If what happened in the field scared her, it terrified me and I was baffled as to why I behaved like that, so hazy like it was not me. I was relieved when Gloria gave out a small laugh before throwing her arms around me.
Saturday night, we went into town and called at The Kings Arms. Gordy was in the bar, sitting at the far end with a crowd of youngsters from Middlefield, but he kept fetching drinks over for me and Gloria was getting annoyed. It was clear that she didn't want me drinking too much, remembering all the trouble she had with Simon because of his drinking. Despite her protests, the drinks kept coming over. It was nearly closing time, and I felt a chill in the room and wondered why I suddenly felt so cold. I felt a bit dizzy and had a buzzing in my head and thought there must be something wrong with the beer.
I noticed Gloria look at a longhaired lad sitting across the room from her. The lad caught her glance and smiled at her. She smiled back, but looked away and noticed my unfriendly stare at her. I don't consider myself a jealous person and felt a little puzzled at how it seemed to aggravate me.
"Go and sit with him if you like," I said abruptly.
"What are you talking about?"
"Go and sit with him, you obviously fancy him. Don't worry I'll just piss off for a while and have a drink with Gordy if that's what you want."
"Oh, Ellis, please, don't get all silly again."
"Silly. What do you think I'm blind or something? I saw you and that hippie freak staring at each other." I had raised my voice and although the words were coming I didn't seem to have much control as to what I was saying. The lad finished his beer and decided to leave but I noticed Gloria look over at him as he walked away.
"Yeah, there he goes, don't you want to follow him out?"
Gloria picked up her glass and downed the last of her Babycham. "Right, you can take me home now, or I'll go on the bus, but I'm not listening to any more of that rubbish."
"The happy couple ay?" We both looked up at Gordy standing grinning at us. "Look, we're all going up to the pool at Carver's Hollow for a bit of a laugh and maybe a bit of nude midnight bathing. Do you fancy coming up with us?"
There was a sudden change in my attitude as I smiled at Gloria. "Yeah, what do you think, Glor?"
Gloria looked amazed at the way my attitude had changed again as if the previous incident had not happened. She didn't return my smile, but gave a sigh and shook her head. "No, I'm not going and don't call me Glor."
"Come on, Gloria, it'll be a laugh."
"I said I'm not going all right. Can you take me home please?"
"Well that's told you then, Ellis, hasn't it?" Gordy walked off, still grinning.
I took Gloria home on the motorcycle and as we walked to her back gate I noticed that she was very quiet. I stopped her by the gate and took hold of her hands. "Gloria, I'm sorry about earlier. I don't know why I keep acting so badly. It's all so crazy I don't know what's happening. Maybe it's because I'm a bit scared of losing you to someone else or maybe I'm going off my head."
"That's silly, Ellis. And you can't go off on the rampage just because I look at someone. I think the world of you, Ellis, and I've never been in love with anyone like I am with you. I truly believe that you're the one for me and you should know that."
I smiled vainly, before reaching across to kiss her. We kissed and embraced each other in a wealth of passion, removing any of the remaining friction.
Gloria eased away slightly. "What are you doing tomorrow then?"
"I'll come round in the morning and go up to the church with you again."
"Are you sure? You don't have to you know," she said, but she seemed thrilled by the suggestion.
"I know that, but I want to. I enjoyed it last week. It made a nice change and anyway, there's loads more to do in your garden."
"Do you want to come in for a cocoa or something?"
"No, I'd better get off or I won't get up for church in the morning." We kissed again, but it was not long before I was riding off on my motorcycle. Although I had not mentioned it to Gloria, I had decided not to go home just yet and I made my way to meet Gordy at Carver's Hollow.
I climbed over the swimming pool gates, glancing over at a group of youngsters lying on the grass, some of them kissing and groping each other.
Gordy walked over to meet me. "Didn't think I'd see you again tonight," he said.
I looked back at the motorcycles leaning against the fence. "Why have you left your bikes out on show, I thought there was a patrol or something?"
"It's all right, they've already been. Saw them leaving the lane as we were coming up the road."
Two girls were in the pool and I could see that they were topless, maybe even naked. "I'll have a swim then," I said. I was soon stripped to my pants and I walked to the edge of the pool.
Gordy had returned to his partner and they watched as I turned my back to the pool and did a back-flip dive into the water. When I surfaced Gordy shouted across to me. "You want to be careful doing that; you nearly cracked your head on the side."
"Miles away," I shouted back and laughed before swimming off, eager to introduce myself to the two topless girls while Gordy resumed kissing and heavy petting with his partner.
The next time I looked over they seemed to be undressing each other in a frenzy of lust and I thought they were about to have sex in full view of everyone. But then the girl started screaming and she began punching and kicking out at Gordy. "Get off, get away from me," she yelled.
Her friends were startled by her screams and they rushed over as Gordy sat up scratching his head and looking bewildered.
"She just went bloody crazy for no reason," Gordy said.
One of the lads shouted at him. "Did you try and force her to do anything?"
"Course not, what sort of bloke do you think I am?"
"I know exactly what sort of bloke you are."
I left the pool and was walking over towards the crowd thinking that there may be trouble.
One minute she wanted it and we were both eager and willing but just as we were about to get it together, she suddenly went all silly." Gordy looked at the girl. "Well, you've got teasing down to a fine art, girl."
The girl looked shocked and confused and she didn't answer.
"Watch your mouth, Gordy," the lad said.
Gordy just shook his head. Without another word the gang from Middlefield gathered up their things and left. It was two-thirty in the morning and the party was over.
I overslept in the morning and didn't call for Gloria until the evening. We visited a pub discotheque before I took Gloria home, but we both knew there was an atmosphere and Gloria had been moody all night.
I parked the motorbike and we stood by her back gate. "It's a good night in that pub, isn't it?"
"If you say so."
"Oh come on, Gloria, you can't stay hostile forever. I overslept that's all. I've said I'm sorry, what else can I say?"
"You're not sorry. You had no intention of going to church with me today."
"I told you last time I wouldn't go every week."
"I know that, but why did you say you were coming if you thought you might not turn up? You made me look foolish in front of my family. We waited in for you and it made us late. You could have shown a bit of consideration."
"Consideration, what about you? It wouldn't have done any harm for us to go to the bathing pool with the gang last night."
"Oh yeah, prancing about in the nude like a load of old spaced-out beatniks, no thank you."
"Don't be silly, it's nothing like that."
"And how would you know? Is that why you didn't turn up this morning, because you were at the pool last night?"
No, Gordy told me, they just sit about talking and telling jokes and that."
"Either Gordy thinks you're stupid, or you think I am. Which is it?"
I didn't have an answer, so I reached across to kiss her. She was unresponsive at first, but soon warmed to my affection and thoughts of our differences faded away.
Rachel and her companion were at Rosie's house, watching Rosie and Tony engaged in intercourse on the sofa.
"Damn you." Rachel said. "Why did you not remind me at the swimming pool that I should have waited until they were having intercourse, you imbecile?"
"I should not have to. You should know after all this time you cannot make people fornicate. They have to be connected before you whiz in or you just get ejected before it happens, with disastrous results that time for the fornicator, Gordy."
"Yes, all right, but I am in the mood now, although I have no desire to merge with Rosie. I have no attraction towards Tony."
She looked back at Rosie. "Foolish wench," she muttered. "Why do you waste time with the uninteresting moron? If I decide to take you, you must not make the same mistakes as me and spend two hundred years with an imbecile. You are much better suited to the fornicator, Gordy. When you are engaged with him there is much more passion. However, it is best you stay with the fool for now. The lack of serious commitment towards anyone makes you an easier target." Rachel kept the words to herself, it was too early to startle Rosie just yet. The novelty of Gloria had waned, and she wondered why she should make the effort to take her when Rosie would be so easy.
Without Rachel's interference Ellis and Gloria's relationship would blossom for the next two weeks.
Gordy had been taunting me, prompting me to finish with Gloria because I was wasting my time with her.
I arrived at work early and was sitting in the cabin drinking tea, passing a few minutes while waiting for my second attempt at passing the main line test. I sat deep in thought, thinking about my relationship with Gloria. Gordy often said that I was wasting my time with her. He had started getting through to me and I was beginning to think maybe Gordy was right. From what he said, every lad in town was having a sexual relationship with their girlfriend, every lad except for me. I looked down at my wristwatch, it was time to go and meet the inspector.
I was a little more experienced than when I had taken the last test and I was feeling confident until I saw the engine, an enormous class nine locomotive. I had never worked on a class nine and had visions of another failure. The fireman, Brian Conway, was already on the engine and while we were waiting for the inspector to come aboard, he gave me some tips on how to fire the engine. Another shock, we were to go in the opposite direction from the previous test and I had never travelled in that direction, but I had heard there was a long continuous climb, which sometimes gave trouble to many of the more experienced firemen.
The driver and fireman were a friendly jovial pair, so different from the crew on the previous test. When we were under way the driver was telling me in good time when he would be shutting off or opening up. The inspector didn't seem to mind the help and advice being given and we arrived at our destination without a hitch. The inspector set off down the sidings towards the station leaving me with a beaming smile on my face. I travelled back to the depot with the train crew, sharing the firing, listening to the stories about the old LMS days, and laughing at the driver's jokes. I liked Brian, the fireman; I had sometimes played cards with him in the cabin and had done a few days of shed firemen's duty with him. I had never seen a more contented young man; he always seemed to have a smile on his face and would never tire of talking about his girlfriend Lynn and their wedding, which was getting close.
I wondered if Gloria would ever give in to my advances and put a permanent smile on my face like Brian seemed to have on his. I knew I had strong feelings for Gloria and it was always a thrill to see her every time we met. The more I thought of her, the more I believed that Gloria was the right girl for me. I decided to ignore Gordy's taunts and stay with her until she was ready to take our relationship further. Even if it took years, I was sure she was worth the wait.